Former President Barack Obama’s “A Promised Land” sold more than 1.7 million copies in North America in its first week, roughly equal to the combined first-week sales of memoirs by his two immediate predecessors and among the highest ever for a nonfiction book.
Crown announced Tuesday that it had increased its initial print run from 3.4 million copies to 4.3 million. Sales also include audio and digital books.
“A Promised Land,” the first of two planned volumes, was published November 17 and sold nearly 890,000 copies just in its first day.
Among former White House residents, only Obama’s wife Michelle approaches his popularity as a writer. Her “Becoming,” published in 2018, has sold more than 10 million copies worldwide and is currently in the top 20 on Amazon.com.
George W Bush’s “Decision Points” sold 775,000 copies its first week and Bill Clinton’s “My Life” topped 1 million in eight days. The two presidential memoirs have now each sold between 3.5 and four million copies, totals that Obama’s book should easily surpass.
No nonfiction comes close to the pace set by JK Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” which in 2007 sold more than eight million copies in its first 24 hours.
Police personnel investigate a triple murder in Tryall Heights, near Lauriston, St Catherine, on Sunday evening. Two girls and their grandmother were slain.
The serene community of Tryall Heights in Spanish Town, St Catherine, was torn by terror on Sunday as gunmen targeted a family about 4:30 p.m., killing them execution-style.
There were maximum carnage and no mercy.
Having entered the home of 81-year-old Iciline McFarlane, sources report that the senior citizen was made to kneel and was shot dead before the killers trained their weapons on 10-year-old Christina McFarlane and her six-year-old sister, Mishane.
Both children were students of Spanish Town Primary School.
“Look how dem come and kill mi two pickney dem and I don’t know what fi do you,” the children’s father, whose name The Gleaner has not published because of security fears, said.
The children lived with their grandmother, who was affectionately called ‘Miss Icey, this newspaper understands.
Keisha Lewis, councillor of the Lauriston division, where the triple murder occurred, said the community was shaken by the tragedy and urged for a new resolve against crime and violence.
“We have to revisit the community policing aspect of the thing, and more police need to be here as last week, one was murdered and now three more,” Lewis said.
The local government representative described the octogenarian as a peaceful person.
Murders in the St Catherine North Police Division have risen by 35 per cent to 107, from 79, year-on-year, up to November 15. Shootings are up almost 20 per cent.
Meanwhile, in the St Andrew South Police Division, a man was gunned down at his gate and two women shot and wounded during a drive-by incident on Fitzgerald Avenue in Whitfield Town.
The incident happened around 7 p.m. Sunday.
Residents say more than 30 rounds were fired, sending bystanders scampering for cover.
The dead man has since been identified as Nicholas Thompson, otherwise called ‘Sterro’ or ‘Choops’.
Two women, aged 20 and 33, were also shot and injured. They were being treated last night at the Kingston Public Hospital.
Reports are that a grey Toyota Axio with four men aboard drove up and opened fire.
“All four doors open and four men with matic (automatic guns) came out and started firing. The people get flat and who run, run. The lady with her baby was also shot and the baby drop,” a resident said.
Murders have fallen 15 percent in St Andrew South this year.
The Government has ruled out lifting the mandatory quarantine requirement for international travelers, at least for now.
A Pan American Health Organisation official has declared that the measure was not necessary.
But both Health Minister Dr. Christopher Tufton and the chief medical officer Dr. Jacquiline Bisasor McKenzie argue that many countries from which Jamaica gets visitors have inadequate protocols to identify potentially infected travelers and therefore, it is critical for the quarantine requirements to remain.
“It is very important at this time with the numbers spiking in all the countries around us, that we ensure we abide with the restrictions we have in place,” said Bisasor McKenzie at a COVID press conference Thursday.
North America accounts for the highest number of visitors to Jamaica each year.
Tufton said if Jamaica could be guaranteed that the countries with which it interacts have sufficient systems in place to quarantine or isolate persons suspected or confirmed to have the coronavirus, it would be in a position to abandon the requirements for travelers.
“If you can’t be guaranteed of that, then clearly, you have to put your own precautions in the interest of your own population,” Tufton.
However, Bisasor McKenzie said eventually, Jamaica will reach a point where it will abandon quarantine requirements for travelers.
“Gradually over time, you are going to see changes in recommendations that take us there,” the CMO said.
Newly re-elected Brooklyn Congresswoman Yvette Clarke has said that the incoming Biden-Harris administration has already opened discussions with the Caribbean on developmental goals to benefit the region.
Speaking Sunday night on the radio programme Fact Of The Matter on Iriejam Radio in New York, Congresswoman Clarke, who was re-elected with the largest vote percentage of any New York congressional candidate in the November 3 presidential and congressional elections, said dialogue has opened between the incoming administration and the Caribbean region on areas of possible cooperation in areas such as business development, environment and climate issues, including renewal energy.
Clarke said that she is heartened by the 100-day agenda laid out by the Biden-Harris administration, pointing out that not only will the Caribbean diaspora benefit under this programme but the Caribbean region as a whole.
She said that the new administration will re-establish diplomatic protocols of understandings as existed in the past to have a close working relationship with the region.
According to the congresswoman, the new administration will pursue strategies to keep the door open with the region.
“I am looking forward to a constructive engagement between the administration and the Caribbean region,” she said.
Clarke said that within the first 100 days the new administration will roll back the executive orders of the Trump administration dealing with immigration issues, including DACA and the public change provision, which she said would have had devastating effects on the Caribbean community in the diaspora and the region.
She said that as chair of the Caribbean Caucus, issues germane to the Caribbean will be highlighted.
“In the recent election, our community exercised our political power to change the course of this country, and I stand ready to ensure that the necessary benefits will accrue to our community as well as the region as a whole,” she said.
To this end, she said that under the 100-day plan, the Caribbean diaspora will not be left out of the vaccine distribution as well as overall healthcare issues.
“Our community has been devastated by COVID-19. Many in our community is underemployed, unemployed and our small businesses have been adversely affected,” she pointed out.
The congresswoman said she is looking forward to Congress, with the assistance of the Biden-Harris administration, passing another stimulus package under which many in the diaspora who are unable to pay their rent, their mortgages or facing eviction will get some long-term relief as the new administration put plans in place to revive the US economy.
The Biden-Harris administration, she said, will put forward an agenda that will jump-start small businesses in our community.
Addressing immigration issues specifically, Clarke said that she is aware that the USCIS has been slow-walking applications for permanent residency and citizenship, which put the people of the Caribbean diaspora at peril.
She said that is a matter that she will be asking the new administration to address with urgency.
Jamaican icon of comedy, Oliver Samuels, was honoured for 50 years of excellence in theatre with the Living Legacy Award of the Caribbean Community of Retired Persons (CCRP) on Wednesday.
Celebrated both locally and internationally as the King of Comedy, Samuels’ interest in theatre began at the age of seven. In fact, he believes that he did not choose comedy, rather “it chose me” he intimated.
The event was emceed by Joan McDonald, who had a lively conversation with Samuels about his early years growing up on a banana plantation in St Mary, and what inspires his altruistic spirit. “I am very familiar with sufferation,” he says. “I cannot know a child is hungry and not help them.”
After attending St Mary High School and Dinthill Technical High School, he worked in several clerical jobs at the Orange River Agricultural Station before venturing to Kingston.
Samuels then decided to pursue his ambition, studying at the Jamaica School of Drama from 1971 to 1973, and doing odd jobs to earn his keep.
While studying drama, a nervous young Samuels attended an audition at the Little Theatre; this is where his theatre career began. Oliver’s highly successful national pantomime debut put him on the map, when he played Moondrop in Music Boy, headlined by Louise Bennett and Ranny Williams. He went on to perform in 13 national pantomimes.
The medium of television was enormously successful for Samuels. In Jamaica, his comedy series on JBC during the 1980s and 1990s – Oliver, Oliver at Large, and Large and in Charge – brought him thousands of new fans at home and overseas. They laughed uproariously at his alter ego Olivius Adams’ antics. He has also appeared in more than 20 other overseas productions, including several with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).
Samuels occupies a unique position as a household name representing Jamaican theatre – and specifically Jamaican humour – overseas. He quickly established a warm rapport with audiences across the Caribbean. The Jamaican diaspora adopted him in the United States and the United Kingdom, where he has toured regularly to highly receptive audiences. He has acted in several films, including the 1976 adaptation of Trevor Rhone’s Smile Orange, and the cult classic Countryman in 1982. He has also appeared in Canadian, Italian and German films.
Jamaican Patois is a critical part of Samuels’ persona and performance. He describes cultural icon Louise Bennett-Coverley, ‘Miss Lou’, as his mentor. After a pantomime performance early in his career, he recalls Miss Lou asking him, “Likkle boy, where yuh come from?” He was thrilled when his idol told him that his recital of her poem Love Letta was the best interpretation she had ever heard.
Among his many awards, Samuels was conferred with the Order of Distinction in the rank of Officer (OD) in 1978. Earlier this year, he was upgraded to the rank of Commander Class (CD).
Samuel’s innate generosity and empathy with ordinary Jamaicans is a quality that has remained with him throughout his career. He has donated proceeds of his productions to several good causes. He has been a mentor for many young people, including his own children, as well as many others he has “taken under his wing”. He regards his children as his greatest blessing in life.
Jean Lowrie-Chin, board chair, CCRP, and directors Michael Fraser, Sethuraman Kumaraswamy and Patricia Reid-Waugh presented Samuels with his Living Legacy Award.
Sponsors of the CCRP Living Legacy event, Gallagher Insurance Brokers, represented by Saundra Bailey, and Jamaica National General Insurance, represented by Chris Hind, presented special gifts to Samuels. COK-Sodality Credit Union, represented by Aloun Assamba, former high commissioner, also presented tablets to Samuels to donate to a charity of his choice.
BALTIMORE — More than 11 million cases of the coronavirus have now been reported in the United States, with the most recent million coming in less than a week.
Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus tracker reached 11 million on Sunday. It had topped 10 million cases on Nov. 9.
It took 300 days for the U.S. to hit the 11 million mark since the first case was diagnosed in Washington state on Jan. 20.
COVID-19 is spreading more rapidly across the U.S. than it has at any time since the pandemic started. Deaths are also on the rise, though not at the record high numbers reached in the spring. The seven-day rolling average for daily new deaths was more than 1,080 as of Saturday, more than 30% higher than it was two weeks earlier.
COVID-19 has now killed more than 246,000 people in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins.
Worldwide, more than 54 million coronavirus cases have been reported with more than 1.3 million deaths. The U.S. has about 4% of the world’s population, but about a fifth of all reported cases.
Outgoing Canadian High Commissioner to Jamaica, Her Excellency Laurie Peters, has lauded the Government for its response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“We have all been impressed with Jamaica, especially the early response to managing the pandemic and to ensure that there was balance, looking at not only saving lives but also livelihoods. I think it has been a delicate and difficult balance to maintain and Jamaica has been impressive on that front,” the High Commissioner said.
She also commended the country for its efforts to remind citizens of the importance of complying with the disaster risk management orders to control the spread of the virus.
The High Commissioner, who began her tour of duty in Jamaica in September 2017, said it is important for a country to identify its needs early.
“In early February, March, no one really knew what this (COVID-19) was going to turn into and I think it was important that Jamaica got something out there and down on paper for us as partners and donors to respond to,” she said.
She said that the health sector was provided with personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical supplies through the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
The High Commissioner also pledged the continued support of Canada to Jamaica’s efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak, the High Commissioner said Jamaica received $75 million to support the health and development sectors. Most recently, Canada made available an additional $482 million for Jamaica towards its Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility premiums. Another injection of funds was facilitated to create fiscal space to allow Jamaica to address the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.
She noted that over the past 38 months, the High Commission has worked to solidify and to advance bilateral relations between Jamaica and Canada, adding that the unforeseen events, such as the pandemic, provided “unplanned opportunities that allow us to take a different path in our partnership”.
“I can say that our partnership is just as strong, if not, stronger than ever before, because we have had to come close together, especially at this time of the pandemic to really leverage our strengths,” she added
A down payment has already been made for Jamaica to access the coronavirus vaccine for a sliver of the population once it becomes available, but failure to immunize a significant number of nationals is unlikely to eliminate COVID-19 in the north Caribbean island, an expert on viruses has said.
Referencing the growing anti-vaccination lobby in Jamaican and across the world, associate professor of microbiology at the University of Massachusetts, Dr. Wilmore Webley, has argued that mass takeup was crucial to achieving herd immunity and stemming the pandemic’s deadly march.
His warning is a grim caution amid rising optimism after Pfizer, a United States-based pharmaceutical company, revealed that it has developed a coronavirus vaccine with 90 percent effectiveness.
“If you have a lot of people in your community who are immune to a certain infection … it makes it harder for even the few people who are not immunized to get infected,” he said on Thursday during a webinar exploring the ‘Status of Vaccine Development for COVID-19 as part of Northern Caribbean University’s Homecoming Week celebrations.
“If you have a vaccine that doesn’t lead to immunity in over 70 or 80 percent of the population, you will still have problems,” said the NCU alumnus.
Jamaica has recorded almost 9,600 infections and 224 fatalities, with three more coronavirus deaths registered on Monday.
The Pan American Health Organization, in partnership with the Caribbean Public Health Agency, has secured down payments to purchase more than one million doses of the impending COVID-19 vaccine for Caribbean states. Funding was secured through the European Union.
Jamaica was one of the countries in the region to obtain 100 percent of the down payment required for vaccine purchase. There are currently 231 vaccine projects worldwide in different phases of development.
Pfizer hopes to secure emergency clearance to roll out the vaccine in the US later this month and aims to supply up to 50 million doses globally by year-end and up to 1.3 billion in 2021.
Professor of public health, Dr. Peter Figueroa, doubts that more than three percent of the population will be able to access the vaccine at the outset.
“The initial supply of vaccines that goes to countries will probably be much less than 20 percent. It might just be about three percent of the population initially, and then as more vaccines become available, hopefully, up to 10 percent or 20 percent of the population,” he said.
Multiple attempts to contact Jamaica’s chief medical officer, Dr. Bisasor McKenzie, were unsuccessful as calls to her mobile phone went unanswered.
Based on the terms of the grant given to fund the down payment for the vaccines, the initial coverage will prioritize healthcare and front-line workers.
Priority will also be given to persons who are at risk of severe COVID-19, those over age 60, and persons with underlying chronic diseases. Hospitality workers in some tourism-dependent countries may also be first-in-line beneficiaries. But access to developing states will be made even more difficult because of the likelihood of the United States and Europe outmuscling the market.
Despite the cogency of the benefits of immunization, the Government’s efforts to get persons to embrace vaccines locally have faced some resistance from anti-vaccine campaigners, or so-called anti-vaxxers.
Health Minister Dr. Christopher Tufton lamented earlier this year that the anti-immunization lobby posed a threat to vaccination efforts in the region.
“Our position in Jamaica is that vaccines continue to save many lives. They are a very effective way to prevent certain ailments and are proven to do so, and we encourage take-up of them,” he told journalists in January.
“In recent times, we’ve seen a re-emergence of the anti-vaccine lobby globally. They’re well-resourced, and they use alternative media to promote, in their view, what the negative effects of vaccination represent.”
A total of 25,400 doses of trivalent influenza vaccine (northern hemisphere formulation) were purchased by the Holness administration in 2019 in preparation for the flu season in Jamaica, which runs from September to March.
But in a statement to Parliament in January, Tufton revealed preliminary reports from the National Epidemiology database showing that 2,370 doses of the vaccine had been administered in November and December 2019.
A total of 18,500 doses of flu vaccine were dispatched locally by October 2018, but up to April 2019, only 3,771 doses had been administered in the public sector and 2,636 at private medical facilities.
The introduction of the HPV vaccine locally to protect young girls against cervical cancer also received lukewarm reception from some parents. The first dose of the HPV vaccine was administered in October 2017, and the program was targeted towards 22,338 girls. However, many parents refused to enroll their children in the vaccination drive.
According to Vitals, a quarterly report produced by the Ministry of Health, Jamaica failed all but two of its vaccination targets for January to December 2017. The country failed to meet the desired minimal 95 percent coverage for the BCG, Polio3, DPT3, HepB3, and HIB3 vaccines.
In Hanover, only 50 percent of babies received the BCG vaccine, 70 percent in Portland, 69 percent in St Elizabeth, and 76 percent in St Catherine.
Figueroa said that some people are skeptical of vaccines, but he was personally encouraged by news that at least one COVID-19 vaccine might be available before year-end.
“Once it is approached properly, I’m optimistic, that most Jamaicans, if given the opportunity, would take it, but initially, the supply of vaccine will not be there. There will not be enough just to offer the vaccine to every and all Jamaicans,” said Figueroa.
It’s Election Day, and Americans are casting their ballots for president, members of Congress, and in state and local races.
More than 100 million ballots were cast before Election Day, according to a survey of election officials by CNN, Edison Research, and Catalist.
Voting in Michigan today is going “smoothly,” the secretary of state’s office says
From CNN’s Annie Grayer
Voting in Michigan today is going “smoothly” so far, Communications and External Affairs Director for the Michigan Secretary of State Jake Rollow told reporters this morning.
Rollow shared that “about a dozen” of the state’s 2,000 reserve poll workers had to be deployed this morning to help staff polling locations in Pontiac and Grand Rapids. Rollow did not specify whether this was because of the pandemic. These workers are meant to be deployed if a poll worker scheduled to work today didn’t show up.
With 3.1 of the 3.5 million absentee ballots requested already returned, Rollow said the state has an 89% return rate, which he said is lower than 2016. In 2016, Rollow reports the state had a 96% return rate as of Election Day.
Rollow said “that’s to be expected” given the fact that there are roughly three times as many absentee ballots this election than in 2016, and the mail has been slow.
91% of absentee ballots returned in Nebraska
From CNN’s Katie Lobosco
So far, 510,076 Nebraska absentee ballots have been returned, the Nebraska Secretary of State’s office said Tuesday morning. That’s a 91% return rate.
There are currently 48,382 absentee ballots outstanding. More than 27,000 were received yesterday.
Absentee ballots must be returned via mail or a drop box before polls close today at 8 p.m. local time (that’s 9 p.m. ET) to be counted.
Absentee ballots are counted first and the results are expected to be posted shortly after the polls close.
Kayleigh McEnany says the Trump “campaign believes that tonight will be a landslide”
From CNN’s Jason Hoffman
Kayleigh McEnany appeared on Fox News as a Trump 2020 campaign senior adviser, though she was also introduced as White House press secretary, and stuck a highly optimistic tone about the President’s chances for reelection.
McEnany predicted President Trump will carry the battleground states of Nevada and Minnesota, states he is trailing Biden in the polls. She also predicted Trump will hold Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan states that were crucial to his 2016 victory.
McEnany echoed the President’s criticisms of the Supreme Court decision allowing Pennsylvania to receive ballots up to three days after Election Day, saying she believes the court is “wrong.” However, she also said that “this talk of litigation is nothing,” because she believes in a landslide victory for Trump.
McEnany said the Trump campaign hasn’t engaged in the court case in Texas regarding curbside voting and any further litigation will be decided “on election day and beyond.”
On Election Day, Trump says he has “a very solid chance of winning”
From CNN’s Kevin Liptak
U.S. President Donald Trump greets guests on the South Lawn of the White House after arriving on Marine One in Washington, D.C., the U.S., on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. Yuri Gripas/Bloomberg/Getty Images
After nearly four years in office, President Trump offered a bleak assessment of the job he wants to be re-elected in an interview on election day.
“They’ll go, ‘Mr. President, tell me: who is the country that’s most difficult to deal with? Is it Russia, is it China, is it North Korea?'” Trump said during a morning phone-in to “Fox & Friends,” his last appearance on a favorite television show before his fate is decided. “No, by far the most difficult country to deal with within the US. It’s not even close.”
About 45 minutes late for the interview, and his voice scratchy after a 17-rally sprint to the finish, Trump did not sound buoyant. He offered himself only a mildly optimistic prognosis for victory — “a very solid chance of winning” — and sounded less-than-enthusiastic about the idea of serving another four years in office.
“The inner workings of the US are very difficult,” he said. “Unless you want to sit there and do nothing, or unless you want to do everything that they want, and we don’t want to do that.”
Throughout the campaign, Trump has struggled to articulate why he wants to serve another term. When pressed on his agenda for a second four-year stretch, he has offered only the broadest answers. Instead, he has focused on defeating Biden, hoping to avoid the humiliation of being a one-term president, and has basked in the adulation of his rallies.
With the campaigning now over, Trump seemed to look forward with some trepidation. He noted that his relationships with friends from before he was president had changed. They no longer call him “Don,” insisting on using the more formal “Mr. President.”
“They react differently to me now than they used to,” he observed.
Trump called into the same program four years ago, saying then he viewed it as a good luck charm because he’d done the same thing on days of primary elections where he won. But four years later, Trump seemed to view the call-in as a chance to explain how the network’s coverage had changed since he won.
“Somebody said, what’s the biggest difference between this and four years ago? And I say, Fox. It’s much different,” he said, complaining the network that’s boosted his relentless, often using conspiracy theories, airs too much coverage of his rivals.
Asked if he got emotional when his supporters chanted “we love you” at his final rally, Trump emphasized repeatedly he was only kidding and that he wasn’t going to cry.
“You feel the love,” he said. “And it’s so incredible.”